As an offerer of flat-roof mounting systems made of recyclable plastic we are constantly asked whether plastic is a suitable material for the installation of a PV-plant, whether it is strong enough and how it performs under challenging environmental conditions. We carried out several studies before we launched our VarioTwin family. They proved the performance and the advantages of the raw material. Also, we draw on almost ten years of experience with our products. Only recently, ppa. Dipl.-Ing. Michael Tesch, Head of Material Engineering and New Materials at the Kunststoff Institut Lüdenscheid, confirmed the excellent performance and advantages of the raw material for photovoltaic applications.

Solardirekt: „Mr. Tesch, how important is plastic to the photovoltaic industry?”

Michael Tesch: „The material is used for different PV components and products. Thanks to its excellent features plastic is employed for frames, junction boxes, joining elements and for carrier foils.

The different functional integration possibilities result in less system costs and an easier installation. Today, the plastic producers have a strong foothold in the photovoltaic market. Thanks to comprehensive material development processes and their extensive know-how of the different plastic types they can meet the industry’s challenging requests, such as fire, corrosion and weather resistance and outstanding electrical and thermal features.”

Solardirekt: „What are the most significant advantages of plastic for photovoltaic installations, for example for mounting systems?”

Michael Tesch: „As I already mentioned, the system integration possibilities and the easy handling of solar modules during the installations are important arguments to use plastic.

Also, there is a strong demand for light-weight mounting systems. Here, plastic excels in performance. The needed ballast and a low total weight are important aspects for the design and construction of cost-efficient and modern architectural structures.”

Solardirekt: „Is the Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid involved in projects related to the use of plastic in the photovoltaic industry? If so, what are focal issue?”

Michael Tesch: „In the course of the so-called joint research project “Coating of compact round cables” we tested material combinations, also from the photovoltaic field, regarding their compact and firm bond.

Our goal was to achieve a tight and strong bond between the round cables and the thermoplastic coating materials. We applied different practical pre-treatment methods and modified coating materials.

One of the tasks was to connect the material systems, respectively the round cables, which are often used in the industry with for example casing materials, in a media-tight way. The tests were carried out with special testing tools. Related to different component stress situations the produced components were checked on their tightness with differential pressure measurement. One of the advantages of the measurement method was the quickness of the testing. In addition to this, the tightness can be determined in leakage rates. Yet, the performance of each test series can be efficiently checked.

In addition to such projects, we advise on material combinations and process engineering. On customer order we regularly conduct material testings.”

Solardirekt: “Mr. Tesch, thank you very much.”